Is he a brute?  Is he a maniac?

(John Angell James, "The Anxious Enquirer" 1834)

"What will it benefit a man, if he gains the whole world
 yet loses his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange
 for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) 

Consider what the loss of the soul includes. It is the loss
of everything dear to man as an immortal creature. It is
the loss of Heaven, with all its honors, felicities, and
glories. It is the loss of everything that can contribute
to our eternal happiness.

The loss of the soul includes in it all that is contained in
that dreadful word, Hell. Hell is the eternal endurance
of the wrath of God. It is the coming down of the curse
of the Almighty upon the soul; or rather, it is the falling
of the soul into that curse, as into a lake which burns
with fire and brimstone.

All the tears that ever have been or ever will be shed on
the face of the earth; all the groans that ever have been
or ever will be uttered; all the anguish that ever has been
or ever will be endured by all the inhabitants of the world,
through all the ages of time--do not make up an equal
amount of misery to that which is included in the loss of
one human soul!

Consider that the eternal loss of the soul is not a rare,
but a very common occurrence. The loss of the soul is so
tremendous a catastrophe, that if it happened only once
in a year, or once in a century, so as to render it barely
possible that it should happen to you--it would be reckless
carelessness not to feel some solicitude about the matter!
How much more, then, when, alas! it is an every-day
So far from its being a rare thing for men to go
to hell--it is a much rarer thing for them to go to heaven!
Our Lord tells us, that the 'road to destruction' is thronged,
while the 'way to life' is traveled by few. Hell opens its
mouth wide and swallows up multitudes in perdition! How
alarming is the idea, and how probable the fact--that you
may be among this number! Some who read these pages
will very likely spend their eternity in hell.

Concern, then, deep concern about the salvation of your
soul, is the most reasonable thing in the world! Can that
man have a soul, or know that he has one, who is careless
about its eternal happiness? Is he a man--or is he a brute?
Is he a rational being--or is he a maniac? Ever walking
on the edge of the precipice that hangs over the bottomless
pit--and not concerned about salvation! Oh, fatal, awful,
destructive indifference!

Look into the bottomless pit--can you be too anxious to
escape its torments? Look into
heaven--can you be too
anxious to obtain its glories? Look into
eternity--can you
be too anxious to secure immortal life?